Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Book Review: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Author: Ron Chernow
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Just like everyone else on the planet, I've been swept up in the fervor over Alexander Hamilton. I was "this close" to making our entire family detour to NYC during our summer vacation so I could go see the play (by myself, because tickets for eight would cost bank). I was so captivated by Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical (and cultural phenomenon) that I finally cracked the book that has been sitting on our shelf for more than a decade, Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm not an avid reader of biographies. In fact, I had to create a tag for biographies when I was reviewing this book. But my friend Michelle told me that if I listened to this one, I wouldn't be disappointed. She was absolutely right. While Alexander Hamilton's included the jubilant highs and devastating lows of high drama, the story is putty in Chernow's able hands. He makes the villains (Burr, Adams, Jefferson) and the heroes (Washington, Lafayette) come to life, and Hamilton shines as someone who's as complicated as any central figure in a Shakespearean tragedy. When I started listening the 30+ hour audio version, I was really skeptical, but it took me about a week to power through the story. It's definitely worth a listen, and fans of the musical might just find themselves singing along.